June 17, 2019 at 10:14 am #91548
Does anyone want to join in a discussion?
Here is the question. What place do denominations have in Christian fiction?
Should Christian fiction be so universal that all denominations can enjoy it?
Or should each author write from the point of view of their denomination?
Does the denomination matter?
- This topic was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by Kayla Skywriter.
How we chose to fight is just as important as what we fight forJune 17, 2019 at 2:43 pm #91586
Denominations usually exist because churches have doctrinal disagreements.
Sometimes we can agree they’re preferences and not overly important.
Sometimes, they are important differences.
So are you willing to compromise on opinion in cases, insist on the doctrine you believe, or ignore it as best you can?
For what it’s worth I have a lot of respect for people who portray faiths they don’t share kindly, like Orson Scott Card does.
"...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and MargaritaJune 17, 2019 at 4:06 pm #91606
@taylorclogston thank you for commenting. I am curious to see what different people think about this.
I personally believe that the author should not fear going against the other denominations if they are backed up by scripture. In the case of large issues like conversion or the sacraments I believe the author should stand up for there denomination.
But, should they seek out these points of dissension? Should writers pick a topic for there book that is so controversial even within the church itself that many wouldn’t read it?
How do you think an author should handle less sensitive subjects like the order of the Ten Commandments?
I know as a reader that it drives me crazy when all the Christian books I read are not inline with my denomination.
How we chose to fight is just as important as what we fight forJune 17, 2019 at 6:12 pm #91619Princess Foo@princess-foo
@kayla-skywriter I don’t think it matters that much. As @taylorclogston says, denominations are just groups of people who align in beliefs on certain doctrine. Obviously, some of those beliefs are going to be more important than others. While there are some things I need to stand on, there are many doctrinal differences where I can understand why someone disagrees. It’s important to treat those differences with respect. After all, I may well be the one wrong here. Everyone has a blind spot, and I don’t know what mine are.
If you want to address a certain belief as the theme of your novel, I don’t think denominations matter. Write about what you think is right. But to say “All these other denominations are wrong so I am going to write a story about why.” seems unnecessarily argumentative.
I actually don’t read that many Christian books so I can’t speak to how annoying it is to read what you consider incorrect doctrine. But I have read non-Christian authors write about Christians in ways I disagree with. Normally, I just think “huh”, and move on. I don’t agree with the author, but I don’t have to enjoy the story. It was interesting reading the Scarlett Letter because half the time I was thinking “Stop all this shunning! Grace is a thing! Read your Bible!” and the other half of the time I was thinking “But adultery is wrong so I can’t slip into thinking it is okay. The world thinks it is okay, but it isn’t.” I might be more bothered if I interacted with it more often.
The cake is a lie. acaylor.comJune 17, 2019 at 7:48 pm #91625
@kayla-skywriter Paul gives the bulk of our instruction on dealing with doctrinal disagreements in 2 Timothy 2:
14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to fight about words. This is useless and leads to the ruin of those who listen. … 16 Avoid irreverent and empty speech, since those who engage in it will produce even more godlessness, 17 and their teaching will spread like gangrene. … 23 But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, because you know that they breed quarrels. 24 The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, 25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. 26 Then they may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:14-26 CSB)
His tone is a little weird, isn’t it? He mentions two people who are preaching that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred, one of whom he previously mentioned he had delivered up for destruction due to his wicked teaching, and yet in the very same context, he is instructing the younger and less-experienced Timothy to stay away from arguments about things that seem so imperative.
I don’t think it’s a wild conclusion to say that it’s not the job of most people in the church to argue about dissensions and heresies. If we teach and learn the most important fundamental truths, then false doctrine becomes fairly obvious, and beyond that it’s between us and God.
(I just taught on this passage in Sunday School this past week, great timing!)
While I agree with you that an author shouldn’t be “afraid” to stand up for what they believe in, I think it’s a matter of bad faith to write a story with the intent of asserting your doctrinal dominance over the heathens in matters of non-saving-grace.
Like, I can’t imagine a time when I would be addressing the order of the Ten Commandments outside a Da Vinci Code style story, which I think isn’t something you could write in a Christlike manner anyway. Maybe that’s just because I hold to the commonplace order of the Commandments, though =P
I want to ask what denomination you are that all the Christian books you’re reading aren’t in line with it, but I think this thread probably doesn’t need to get into IRL doctrinal debate for obvious reasons, so I won’t.
Every year, a bunch of the local churches in my area get together for a Good Friday service at the opera house. Unitarians, Greek Orthodox, and Roman Catholics are pretty much the only ones who don’t join in, but for the ones who hold to the Nicene Creed as the fundamentals of the faith, we are happy to put aside our silly doctrinal differences for a season and praise the Lord Who saved us all.
I think that’s pretty awesome.
"...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and MargaritaJune 17, 2019 at 9:23 pm #91634
@princess-foo I agree, you should always respect someone else’s beliefs.
So, correct me if I’m wrong, you’re saying that you shouldn’t write a book with the specific goal of shunning other denominations. However, if the theme of your book is in disagreement with another denomination that is okay?
For example, I shouldn’t write a book about everything I think is wrong with the Catholic faith, but if my book is about original sin and how no man can stand above God as holy and righteous that is fine. (not trying to offend Catholics, it was just the first example that came to mind)
@taylorclogston I don’t want to get into a doctrinal debate either, but I will answer your question for the sake of clarity. I trust you not to harass me for my belief and I won’t harass you for yours. I belong to the LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod). Also out of curiocity is the common place order of the Ten Commandments this:
- You shall have no other gods before me
- You shall not make for yourself any graven image
- You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God
- Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy
- Honor your father and your mother
- You shall not murder
- You shall not commit adultery
- You shall not steal
- You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor
- You shall not covet
If so that would explain it. Lutherans and Catholics use the other way of doing it. Neither is wrong it is just preference. But, apparently I have yet to find a Catholic or Lutheran author. Because I keep finding the order of Commandments listed above in books, which instantly puts me out of the story a little bit.
I’m not saying I never agree with any part of any Christian book, but I just get tired of looking at non-LCMS doctrine in Christian books too. There are no LCMS fiction books. It is a little depressing.
As I did with princess foo let me just make sure what you are saying. Are you saying that we shouldn’t seek out arguments, and instead we should seek to lead those we believe to be wrong to the truth through the peaceful path of story? That we are to not yell at them, and sometimes we can just leave them alone? If I misunderstood you please correct me.
If I correctly understood both of you then I am in complete agreement.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by Kayla Skywriter.
How we chose to fight is just as important as what we fight forJune 17, 2019 at 10:03 pm #91646
@kayla-skywriter Interesting, of all the doctrinal differences I’ve ever seen, I’ve never known the division of the Commandments to be one of them. I looked up the explanation of the LCMS division, and I get it. I think we’d all agree we’re basically on the same page, that the Commandments are the same regardless how they are divided. For my part, I’ve never seen a translation of the Bible where “No other gods before me” and “no idols” were not separated out into their own verses and their own “thou shalt nots,” but I absolutely see value in the interpretation that they’re addressing a singular issue. I even prefer the idea (regardless of its original intent, the idea appeals to me) of, uh, not lumping together “coveting your neighbor’s wife” with “coveting your neighbor’s belongings.”
I wonder if the apparent lack of Lutheran fiction authors is a matter of low population, or a matter of worldview, or both? AFAIK Lutheranism is much more dominant in non-English speaking countries than in the US or England, and I’ve never seen Lutheranism as having a particularly subcreative philosophy that might push it beyond the representation you might expect in the same way Mormon spec fic authors are crawling from the woodwork due to their fundamental worldview.
And I promise this is the last time I’ll mention Mormons in this thread.
Anyway I think we generally agree. I don’t even think we need to try to lead people to the truth through the peaceful path of story. I think we need to try to display reality as honestly as we can and pretty much nothing more or less than that. Make of that, in light of the topic, what you will.
"...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and MargaritaJune 17, 2019 at 10:31 pm #91653Jenna Terese@jenwriter17
I think that without knowing it your denominational beliefs will show in your writing. Some denominations can be very different, so some may not connect as well with a book of a different denomination (i.e.: a baptist reading a book with catholic beliefs probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much). But I don’t think denomination matters so much in the Christian genre, and I don’t think that’s one of the things you should worry too much about when writing. So yeah, your beliefs will show in your writing whether you’re focusing on your denomination or not.
"If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write." -Martin Luther
www.jennaterese.comJune 18, 2019 at 8:39 am #91671
Thanks everyone, I think my questions have been thoroughly answered.
@taylorclogston I think that the lack of Lutheran fiction is because of the lack of Lutherans. I live in the part of the US where LCMS churches are at there highest, but the numbers are dropping. There are still many Lutherans, but even among Lutherans the LCMS is a minority. But you’re right, in other non-English speaking countries, like Liberia, Lutheranism is growing rapidly.
How we chose to fight is just as important as what we fight forJune 18, 2019 at 10:40 am #91677Eden Anderson@eden-anderson
@kayla-skywriter I know you just said that your questions were answered and so this conversation is essentially over and I should just keep my mouth shut, but this is such an interesting thread and I can’t help but jumping in on the convo! 🙃
I would agree with @taylorclogston that we shouldn’t write about a denomination just to be argumentative or to try and convince everybody that we are the “right ones”. But like @jenwriter17 said the things we believe are going to leak through into our writing and that is okay and even good.
I have come to the conclusion that I want my stories to be more about the hope and grace of Jesus than pointing out why the denomination I belong to is the right one. There are people dying and going to hell every day…why am I sitting around getting into arguments over what kind of clothes someone should wear or whether TV is okay or not? GOD HAVE MERCY. (Ya’ll proabaly don’t hear people arguing about that where you come from, but the denomination I belong to gets tied in knots over this kind of stuff. 🤦♀️ It’s kind of sad, tbh.)
I can relate to what you said about not having any books written from the viewpoint of your denomination. I’m a mennonite and anababtist writers are almost nonexistent. (Well good ones at least.) So the vast majority of Christian books I read whether fiction or nonfiction, would be from a Evangelical standpoint. (like Baptist or Presbyterian) That honestly doesn’t bother me, but it would be fun to see more Anabaptist literature.
I don’t intentionally write from my anabaptist standpoint because I don’t think anybody outside of my denomination would be interested in reading about a menno protagonist. 😜 (That’s probably NOT a good reason, but oh well. 🙃) That said I know the things I believe about Jesus and the world and culture leak into my writing.
"But how could you live and have no story to tell?" - Fyodor DostoyevskyJune 19, 2019 at 2:56 am #91734MyClipboardIsMyViolin@myclipboardismyviolin
I think that if you are attached to the point of view of your denomination and you think you are being misunderstood and underrepresented, you should give yourself a voice and speak.
A caution, however: you can only speak for your own personal beliefs. You should not claim to speak for a denomination without the denomination’s explicit permission. However, if your denomination is a big part of who you are in Christ and what you believe, it’s okay to express that in your writing.
Also, do not underestimate the draw of the exotic – I have not heard of either of the obscure denominations mentioned in this thread. People like stuff that they don’t know about. I now want to look them up. You can play off of that to get people interested in your work – you’d be surprised.
Sarah, Miss S, Sierepica_Fuzzywalker
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